Teachers' Beliefs about Children and their Behavior: Furthering our Measurement and Understanding of How Preschool Teachers' Beliefs Relate to their Interactions with Young Children

Carter, Lauren, Clinical Psychology - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Williford, Amanda, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

This three-manuscript style dissertation presents a line of research that examines a teacher’s beliefs about children and their behavior and how these beliefs relate to the ways in which a teacher interacts with young children – both at the classroom level and at the individual child level. The first study investigated the reliability and validity of a measure for assessing preschool teachers’ behavior attributions, the Preschool Teaching Attributions measure. Results demonstrated a two-factor structure, solid internal reliability, and good concurrent validity with theoretically aligned measures. The second study examined the psychometric properties of a standardized, observational measure designed to assess teacher and child interactive behaviors - the Teacher Child - Structured Play Task measure. This measure demonstrated solid inter-rater and internal reliability, as well as concurrent and divergent validity with theoretically aligned measures. With reliability and validity of my measures established, the third study explored the links between teacher beliefs, including authoritarian beliefs and negative behavior attributions, and teacher-child interactions, both at the classroom and individual child level. Results indicated that teacher beliefs were associated with teacher-child interactions at both levels and in unique ways.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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